Coronavirus updates: U.S. to evacuate Americans from quarantined cruise ship

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By NBC News  with NBC News World News
Image: A medical worker in protective suit gets onto an ambulance at a hosp
A medical worker in protective suit gets onto an ambulance at a hospital, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, in Xuanhua district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China Feb. 13, 2020.   -   Copyright  China Daily

• U.S. to evacuate Americans from quarantined cruise ship

• Coronavirus cases, deaths continue to increase

• San Diego County declares health emergency

• Egypt confirms coronavirus case, 1st in Africa

U.S. to evacuate Americans from quarantined cruise ship

American passengers quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan where scores of people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus are to be evacuated on Sunday, according to an email sent to them by the U.S. embassy in Tokyo.

"The aircraft will arrive in Japan the evening of Feb. 16," the email said. "Buses will move you and your belongings from the ship to the aircraft."

It added that the 428 passengers would "be screened for symptoms and we are working with our Japanese partners to ensure that any symptomatic passengers receive the required care in Japan if they cannot board the flight."

As of Friday 218 of the 771 passengers and crew that have been tested are positive for the virus, also known as COVID-19, authorities said. At least 32 were Americans.

— Dennis Romero

Coronavirus cases increase as death toll passes 1,500

Chinese officials said there were 2,641 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, 849 severe cases and 143 new death cases Friday. Most of the new cases, 2,420, were in Hubei, the National Health Commission said.

The commission also confirmed a total of 66,492 cases of COVID-19, the new name for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as of Friday evening. The death toll rose to 1,523, up from the 1,380 reported earlier in the day.

A medical worker in protective suit gets onto an ambulance at a hospital, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, in Xuanhua district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China Feb. 13, 2020.
A medical worker in protective suit gets onto an ambulance at a hospital, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, in Xuanhua district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China Feb. 13, 2020.China Daily

Chinese officials said late Friday 1,373 new cases were "cured" and 30,081 people flagged as a result of close contact with known carriers were no longer under medical observation. — Leou Chen

San Diego County declares health emergency

San Diego Countydeclared a public health emergency Friday as American evacuees from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have been quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the city of San Diego.

The base received two flights of Wuhan evacuees last week. Two of the travelers have tested positive for the virus and were described as "doing well" and "fair," respectively, by UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent. Five other Wuhan evacuees were described as persons under investigation. All seven were at UC San Diego Health facilities, university officials said at a news conference Friday.

Additionally, two people intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border were "possible subjects of investigation" as a result of their travel histories, said Dr. Eric McDonald of the Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. They were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said.

County officials emphasized that the emergency, which followed a similar declaration by Santa Clara County in the Bay Area, did not signal increased odds of contracting the virus. They said it allowed local government to more easily tap needed resources. - Dennis Romero

Egypt confirms coronavirus case,1st in Africa

The first coronavirus case on the African continent was confirmed by Egypt's Health Ministry, Friday. The affected person is a foreigner who had been put into isolation at a hospital, it said in a statement.

It added that it had immediately informed the World Health Organization and had taken all necessary preventative measures.

Everyone who had come into contact with the person will be quarantined in their homes for 14 days, Dr. Khaled Mujahid, from Egypt's Ministry of Health, said in the statement. The building where the person was staying had been "sterilized," he said.

The health ministry did not give the nationality of the affected person or any other details. — Charlene Gubash and Reuters